New Zealand mosque shooting: Kiwi women across faiths don headscarves to show solidarity with victims

Headscarves were also worn as a mark of respect by policewomen and non-Muslim volunteers directing the crowds around the site in Christchurch holding communal prayers on Friday

Agence France-Presse March 22, 2019 18:09:40 IST
New Zealand mosque shooting: Kiwi women across faiths don headscarves to show solidarity with victims
  • Headscarves were also worn as a mark of respect by policewomen

  • Many were also wearing a headscarf for the first time

  • Women flooded Twitter, Facebook and other social media with their images

Christchurch: Women across New Zealand wore makeshift hijabs as a statement of peace and solidarity on Friday, a week after a white supremacist killed 50 Muslims at two mosques in the southern city of Christchurch.

Rafaela Stoakes, a 32-year-old mother of two, said wearing the Islamic head covering gave her an insight into what it means to stand out and feel part of the minority.

New Zealand mosque shooting Kiwi women across faiths don headscarves to show solidarity with victims

Residents and schoolchildren wearing headscarves arrive for the funeral of those killed in New Zealand's twin mosque attacks at Memorial Park cemetery in Christchurch on 21 March, 2019. AFP

On Friday morning she covered all but a few locks of her dark chestnut-coloured hair in a loose red and white scarf, crossed neatly beneath her chin and tucked into a black hiking jacket.

She was one of many women embracing #HeadScarfforHarmony, to make a stand against the hate espoused by the Australian man accused of killing dozens of worshippers.

Headscarves were also worn as a mark of respect by policewomen and non-Muslim volunteers directing the crowds around the site in Christchurch holding communal prayers on Friday.

Many were wearing a headscarf for the first time.

"It is amazing how different I felt for the short time I was out this morning," Stoakes said. "There were a lot of confused looks and some slightly aggressive ones," she said.

"I did feel a sense of pride to honour my Muslim friends, but I also felt very vulnerable and alone as I was the only person wearing one." "It must take a lot of courage to do this on a daily basis."

The gesture caught on nationwide – in offices, schools and on the streets – as well as at the ceremonies held in Christchurch to mark one week since the killings at the hands of a self-avowed white supremacist.

Women flooded Twitter, Facebook and other social media – which played a key role in allowing the gunman to spread his message – with their images.

Kate Mills Workman, a 19-year-old student from Wellington, posted a selfie on Twitter wearing a green headscarf.

"If I could I would be attending the mosque and standing outside to show my support for my Muslim whanau but I've got lectures and I can't really skip them," she said, using a Maori language term for extended family.

"Obviously this is all spurred on by the terrible tragedy in Christchurch, but it's also a way of showing that any form of harassment or bigotry based on a symbol of religion is never okay," she added.

"As New Zealanders, we have to make a really strong stand." Although the headscarf has been the subject of contentious debate over gender rights in the Islamic world, for Stoakes the day has been a lesson in how pious Muslim women often do not have the option to melt away into the background when they feel vulnerable.

"We can nod and pretend to agree with people who we are afraid of, or plead ignorance if we feel in danger of confrontation," she said.

"But a Muslim is just right out there. Like a bulls eye. Their hijabs and clothing speak before they do."

Updated Date:

also read

'You killed her for two strands of hair': Mahsa Amini's father stops mullah from performing her last rites
World

'You killed her for two strands of hair': Mahsa Amini's father stops mullah from performing her last rites

Over the past few days, protests have erupted across Iran after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while being held by the morality police for violating the country's strictly enforced Islamic dress code

Hijab is Iran’s ‘Berlin Wall’ and with it will crumble puritanical tyranny
World

Hijab is Iran’s ‘Berlin Wall’ and with it will crumble puritanical tyranny

The hijab for Muslim, Iran in particular, is the single most glaring infringement of one’s personality and totally undermines the principle of individuation

Hijab row: Karnataka AG says hijab in classes not akin to transgender rights to dress as expression
India

Hijab row: Karnataka AG says hijab in classes not akin to transgender rights to dress as expression

The apex court is hearing arguments on a batch of petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions of the state that have prescribed uniforms